Online reviews: When people are faced with a lot of choice, before they decide where to take their business, they go to sites such as facebook, google and yelp for online reviews. People look to online reviews for honest appraisals.
Online reviews are similar to word of mouth referrals except that word of mouth may be limited to the number of people that will hear the review. Online reviews has the potential to reach a lot of people. Big businesses capitalize on this to build loyal customers. Small businesses however do not seem to take advantage of this. Small business sometimes still stick to more traditional ways of marketing such as printed ads, leaflets etc. This is costly where online reviews are free.
For online reviews to work, customers need to be encouraged to write reviews online. You may need to offer something to get people to write a review. Always remember to keep an eye on the reviews online. Someone need to go online and thank the people who write the reviews. Of course this may become difficult to do if the business is being bombarded with lots of reviews. Also if there is a negative review you need to deal with it and try to resolve the issue immediately.